Noshir Contractor

at MeshForum 2005

Co-Evolution of Knowledge Networks
69 minutes, 32mb, recorded 2005-05-02
Noshir Contractor
Recent technological advances in hardware and software, broadband connectivity, and the decreasing cost of computers, cell phones, and other such devices have created an environment where we can connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere almost effortlessly. However, how do we determine with whom we want to connect? The answers to this question can be found by studying the underlying socio-technological motivations for the creation, maintenance, destruction, and reconstitution of knowledge and social networks. Dr. Noshir Contractor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses his research in communication theory of dynamically linked knowledge networks over the past ten years at Mesh Forum 2005 during his presentation titled "Coevolution of Knowledge Networks and 21st Century Forms of Organizing."

Dr. Contractor presents a multi-theoretical multilevel model of using technologies to understand knowledge and social network organization through the discussion of real-world examples. From the 'Lovegety' to Amazon purchase suggestions and beyond, Dr. Contractor outlines the concepts that form the basis of social and knowledge networks. Those concepts are: the social network, "it's not what you know, but who you know"; the cognitive-social network, "it's not who you know, it's who they you think you know"; the knowledge network, "it's not who you know, it's what they think you know"; the cognitive-knowledge network, "it's not who you know, it's what who you know knows."

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Dr. Noshir Contractor is a Professor in the Department of Speech Communication, the Department of Psychology, and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to his departmental appointments, he is a Research Affiliate at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He is also the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Group at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Co-director of the Age of Networks Initiatives at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He is the author of over 250 research papers in communication. His book published in 2003 with Peter Monge titled "Theories of Communication Networks" received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association. In addition, the Organizational Communication Division of the International Communication Association awarded Dr. Contractor the Outstanding Member Award in 2000.

Dr. Contractor has also led the development of a web based community software program called IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks on the Web), and a social network dynamics simulation program called Blanche.


This presentation is one of a series from the MeshForum 2005 Event held in Chicago, Il, May 1-4, 2005.

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This free podcast is from our MeshForum series.